In late July, President Barack Obama nominated women to fill three key federal science posts. The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

If confirmed, Dr. France Anne Cordova will become the next director of the National Science Foundation, a position that was vacated by Dr. Subra Suresh earlier this year. She would be the second woman and the first Latina to lead the agency. Cordova is an astrophysicist by training. She is a former president of Purdue University and previously served as chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. Cordova also served as NASA’s Chief Scientist and worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is currently Chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents and is a member of the National Science Board.

The President picked Dr. Kathryn Sullivan to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a position she has filled on an acting basis since February 2013. Sullivan is a former astronaut and was the first woman to walk in space. She previously served as Chief Scientist for NOAA, director of a science education policy center at Ohio State University, and as president and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry, a science museum in Ohio. She has a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University.

Dr. Jo Handelsman was selected to serve as the associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The position coordinates research and science education for the White House. Handelsman is a microbiologist at Yale University and current president of the American Society for Microbiology. She is the recipient of several science education awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring and the American Institute of Biological Sciences 2010 Education Award.


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